National Osteoporosis Month is recognized in the month of May, and being a female who comes from a family that has been impacted by osteoporosis, I thought that it would be good idea to take some time to learn more about the basics of the disease and steps I can take today to prevent it.
Though a lot of people think that osteoporosis is just a regular part of aging, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, it’s not, and neither are broken bones.
The good news is we can do a lot to prevent the development of osteoporosis and broken bones as we age and Linda Halbrook M.D., a family medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano told me how.
Q: What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disorder of the bone in which the bone is thin and more likely to fracture.
Q: Is there a genetic link that puts women at risk for developing osteoporosis?
Yes, if your relatives have osteoporosis you are more likely to develop osteoporosis as well. The disease is also more common in certain ethnicities and sexes such as Caucasian and Asian women.
Q: What can women do to decrease their risk of developing osteoporosis?
Taking proper calcium and vitamin D ingestion along with good exercise should begin in childhood to produce the bone structure needed for a lifetime.
Women should be sure their dietary intake of calcium is at 1,000-1,200 mg per day, with supplementation only if needed. Women should ingest vitamin D at 800-1000 IUs per day, and this usually requires supplementation to fulfill.
Weight bearing exercise, not smoking and avoiding excess alcohol also helps you protect your bone strength
Q: What types of exercises will help women build bone?
Walking, running, and weight lifting.
As I mentioned, my family has been impacted by osteoporosis. My grandmother has osteoporosis, and my mom has osteopenia.
My mom has been diligent about exercising and taking calcium supplements and has successfully improved her bone density levels by going from low impact aerobics to higher impact aerobics. She rocks at Jazzercise. She also does strength training several times a week.
It’s comforting to know that even though osteoporosis runs in my family, there’s a lot I can do to make sure osteoporosis doesn’t get the best of me.
So, I plan to keep tying up my shoes laces and hitting the concrete, knowing that every step I run just makes my bones that much stronger than osteoporosis.